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South West Deeps (East) MPA

Status: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

The site is located in the Western Channel and Celtic Sea region, next to the South-West Deeps (West) MCZ. The eastern boundary of the site is approximately 190 km south-west of the Land’s End peninsula.

Site

South West Deeps (East) MCZ is located in the Western Channel and Celtic Sea region with the eastern boundary approximately 190 km south-west of the Land’s End peninsula. The seabed is dominated by Subtidal sand with areas of Subtidal coarse sediment throughout and an area of Deep-sea bed in the south. The variety of habitats across the depth range of 150–170 m support a range of species.

The site covers an area of 4,676 km2 and contributes the greatest area of Subtidal sand to the MPA network within this regional sea. It is home to a range of species such as flat fish (sole and plaice) and clams, cockles and marine worms which burrow within the sand. The site also protects Subtidal coarse sediment, the geological feature Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks and Deep-sea bed. The Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks are among the largest and deepest shelf sand ridges in UK waters. Additionally, the site is one of only two MPAs outside of Scotland’s waters to protect Deep-sea bed habitats beyond the shelf break.

More detailed site information can be found in the Summary section below.

Map displaying the South West Deeps (East) MPA boundary and associated protected feature data. Visit JNCC's MPA Mapper to further view and explore data for this MPA.

Map showing South-West Deeps (East) Marine Protected Area and linking to the MPA mapper

Legislation

Legislation behind the designation: Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009)

 

Protected Features

EUNIS Code: Protected Feature Feature Type
Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks Feature of Conservation Importance
A6: Deep-sea bed Broad-scale habitat
A5.1: Subtidal coarse sediment Broad-scale habitat
A5.2: Subtidal sand Broad-scale habitat

Specific information on the conservation objectives related to this site is provided in the Conservation Advice section.

The acquisition of new data may result in updates to our knowledge on feature presence and extent within this site. The most up-to-date information is reflected on the map on this page and in JNCC’s MPA mapper and the evidence underpinning this can be viewed in the Evidence section.

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Site Timeline

The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of the South West Deeps (East) MCZ. More detail can be found within the Relevant Documentation section and in the post-consultation advice

September 2011
Regional projects recommended a total of 127 rMCZs to Defra and the CNCBs. South West Deeps (East) MCZ was proposed by the Finding Sanctuary Regional Project.
June 2018 – July 2018
South West Deeps (East) MCZ included in formal public consultation on Tranche Three MCZs.
May 2019
Tranche three designations announced – South West Deeps (East) MCZ designated.

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Relevant Documentation

The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to South West Deeps (East) MCZ were produced during the selection and designation process and therefore may be out of date. This Site Information Centre is the most up-to-date source of information for this MPA, and will reflect any additional information gathered since these documents were produced. Further information about the Marine Conservation Zone site selection process and historic MCZ advice is available on JNCC's MCZ webpage.

  • South West Deeps (East) MCZ Designation Order –the official description of the site designation under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The Designation Order includes boundary co-ordinates, Conservation Objectives and a list of the designated features. More information on the designation, including a designation map and factsheet is available on Defra's website.
  • JNCC's pre- and post-consultation scientific advice for features proposed for designation in 2019.
  • JNCC's formal conservation advice for this site is available in the Conservation Advice section.

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Summary

Last updated: June 2020

Information for this site summary was adapted from JNCC’s scientific advice to Defra on South West Deeps (East) MCZ and incorporates any further information gathered since the advice was produced. Please refer to the Relevant Documentation section for further details and information sources.

 

Site overview

This expansive offshore site covers an area of 4,676 km2 and reaches depths of 750 m. It protects several broad-scale habitats including Subtidal sand, Subtidal coarse sediment, Deep-sea bed, and the geological feature Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks. The seabed is characterised by the largest area of Subtidal sand protected within any MPA, with areas of Subtidal coarse sediment and the deep, long shelf sand ridges of the Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks. In the southern half of the site the Deep-sea bed feature dominates; these habitats can be hard substrates or sedimentary, supporting an array of different marine species compared to similar habitats in shallower regions. The Subtidal sand and coarse sediments are supporting habitat for species such as flat fish (sole and plaice) on the seabed surface, and species of cockles, marine worms and clam which burrow within the sand itself.

South West Deeps (East) MCZ was recommended by the Finding Sanctuary regional MCZ project for broad-scale habitats. Data have been provided through the BGS seabed sediment PSA dataset and Marine Recorder which were used to create the habitat map produced by EUSeaMap (2012). MB0102 Task 2A provided a habitat map of the geological feature Celtic Sea Relict Sandbanks. The original boundary proposed by Finding Sanctuary was adjusted to reduce the socio-economic impact on commercial fishing, specifically non-UK fleets. The site now borders with the existing South West Deeps (West) MCZ.

Further detail on the evidence for this MCZ can be found in the Evidence section.

Site location: Co-ordinates for this MCZ can be found in the Designation Order listed in the Relevant Documentation section.

Site area: 4,676 km2 (bigger than the entire Cornish county).

Site depth range: 150–750 m.

Charting Progress 2 Biogeographic Region: Western Channel and Celtic Sea.

Site boundary description: The site is a simple polygon with eight boundary lines running south-west to north-east in line with the guidance provided by the MCZ project Ecological Network Guidance (ENG). The polygon is delineated at the southern and eastern edges by the Exclusive Economic Zone. Following pre-consultation advice the boundary of the site was amended to reduce socio-economic impact on commercial fishing.

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Evidence

Last updated: June 2020

Site-specific data

There are a range of data that underpin this MCZ. The full overview of these data used to support site identification along with information on confidence in feature presence and extent is available in JNCC’s Tranche Three MCZ pre-consultation and post-consultation scientific advice for offshore Marine Conservation Zones proposed for designation in 2019. Due to the modified boundary the full assessment of this site can be found in the post-consultation scientific advice report. JNCC will be adding relevant survey data for this MPA to its MPA mapper in due course.

Some of the data for this MCZ have been collected through JNCC-funded or collaborative surveys and some through other means. Data from these surveys provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site.

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Conservation Advice

Last updated: June 2020

The overarching conservation objectives for the site is for its designated feature either to remain in or reach favourable condition. The ability of a designated feature to remain in or reach favourable condition can be affected by its sensitivity to pressures associated with activities taking place within or in close proximity to a protected site.

Formal conservation advice is not currently available for this MPA and will be added in due course.

In the interim, please see JNCC’s Tranche 3 MCZ post-consultation advice for more detail.

Further information on JNCC’s approach used to develop conservation advice packages is available on our 'Conserving MPAs' webpage along with a Glossary of Terms used in JNCC conservation advice and a short video explaining how to use the conservation advice packages.

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Activities and Management

Last updated:June 2020

Management status: To be assessed.

Information on the management for the site can be found in the South West Deeps (East) MCZ Factsheet.

This site forms part of the UK's contribution to the OSPAR Commission's network of MPAs. As the UK is a contracting party to the OSPAR Commission, JNCC is committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is 'well-managed' by 2020.

JNCC considers 'well-managed' to mean the timely progress of an MPA around the 'MPA management cycle'. This involves:

  1. The documentation of appropriate management information – conservation objectives, advice on activities capable of affecting the protected features of a site, and spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected features of a site.
  2. The implementation of management measures – management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
  3. Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a site's conservation objectives.
  4. Assessment of progress towards conservation objectives – using available information to infer whether or not a site is moving towards or has achieved its conservation objectives.

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Monitoring

Last updated: June 2020

For MPAs, data and evidence collected from monitoring activities will aim to:

  • Enable assessment of condition of the features within sites;
  • Enable assessment of the degree to which management measures are effective in achieving the conservation objectives for the protected features;
  • Support the identification of priorities for future protection and/or management; and
  • Enable Government to fulfil its national and international assessment and reporting commitments in relation to MPAs and help identify where further action may be required.

Information on monitoring of this MPA will be provided when it becomes available.

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Assessment

Last updated: June 2020

Assessments of the condition of designated features in offshore MPAs are required to report against our legal obligations. Ideally these assessments should be based on observed data, and then measured against targets for pre-defined indicators. However, for MPAs in offshore waters we do not always have the appropriate information to be able to do so. This is particularly true for seabed habitats, which are the main type of feature designated for protection in offshore MPAs.

To address these challenges, JNCC has been an active partner in the development of new approaches and tools for the assessment of habitats and species for a variety of national and international status reports.

 

Conservation Assessment Reports

Under Section 124 of the UK Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009), JNCC is required to report to Ministers every six years on the degree to which the conservation objectives of the protected features of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been achieved. Every six years from 2012, the Marine Act requires a report setting out how MCZs have performed against their conservation objectives, as well as the effectiveness of the network as a whole.

To date, three reports have been published, each setting out progress being made in implementing a Marine Protected Area network, covering the following areas:

Outputs of assessments that feed into Marine Act reporting also feed into reporting under other obligations.

 

UK State of the Seas Reports & UK Marine Strategy Part 1

Charting Progress 2 (CP2) published in 2010, is a comprehensive report on the state of the UK seas. It was published by the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) community which has over 40 member organisations. The report was based on a robust, peer-reviewed evidence base and describes progress made since the publication of Charting Progress in 2005. It provides key findings from UK marine research and monitoring for use by policy makers and others, as we move towards the UK vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. The results from CP2 were incorporated into the UK Marine Strategy Part 1: UK Initial Assessment and Good Environmental Status published in 2012 under the UK Marine Strategy Regulations (2010). The UK Marine Strategy Part 1 (2012) also set out the UK’s definition for Good Environmental Status, which could be achieved by meeting a series of environmental targets. JNCC worked with other organisations in the UKMMAS community to develop a series of indicators that were used to assess progress against each of the targets and to report on progress made since 2012. The results of these assessments have been published in the UK Marine Strategy Part 1: UK Updated Assessment and Good Environmental Status in 2019. Detailed evidence used to make these assessments is available via the Marine Online Assessment Tool (MOAT). It also sets out proposals for updated high-level objectives, targets and operational targets to be used for 2018 to 2024, which build on those set in 2012.

It is worth noting the two other parts of the UK Marine Strategy: UK Marine Strategy Part Two: marine monitoring programmes, published in 2014 and UK Marine Strategy Part Three: programme of measures published in 2015. Updates to these will be made in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

 

OSPAR Quality Status Reports

Many of the assessments in the updated UK Marine Strategy Part 1 2019 were developed and produced in collaboration with other contracting Parties of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic. In 2017 OSPAR published its Intermediate Assessment (IA2017). The IA 2017 further develops OSPAR’s understanding of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic and its current status. It demonstrates OSPAR’s progress towards realising its vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic, used sustainably. IA2017 follows on from OSPAR’s previous holistic assessment, the OSPAR Quality Status Report in 2010 (QSR2010) and in 2000 (QSR2000).

 

Development and tools

JNCC continues to develop and pilot tools for the assessment of marine habitats and species in offshore waters to improve the quality and transparency of our offshore MPA assessments, and contribute to the monitoring of marine biodiversity in UK waters. These tools cover methods for producing interim assessments of site features and their responses to pressures, as well as developing more robust indicators for determining condition of the features.

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